🔨 Warhammer 40k
Combat (9th)

Updated at 2022-05-23 18:15

This note contains 9th edition abridged combat rules for Warhammer 40,000.

What you should have to play a Warhammer game:

  • [ ] BRB (Big Rule Book); Warhammer 40,000 Core Book
  • [ ] codex book for your army; including your army specific rules
  • [ ] a tape measure with inches
  • [ ] 30x d6 dice of a primary color for rolling
  • [ ] 10x d6 dice of a secondary color for wounds
  • [ ] 4x d20 dice, for wounds and tracking large numbers
  • [ ] 6x tokens, for objectives
  • [ ] an army of painted figures

Distances are always measured in inches:

  • Model-to-model distance comes from model base to base.
  • Unit-to-unit distance is the shortest model-to-model distance.

"Within" and "wholly within" are different concepts:

  • Model within = any part of model's base or hull if it has no base.
  • Model wholly within = every part of model's base or hull.
  • Unit within = any model within.
  • Unit wholly within = every model wholly within.

Unit Coherency: 2" horizontally + 5" vertically, each model in a unit must be that close to another model in that unit. If unit has 6+ models, each must be near 2 others. Any kind of movement must end in unit coherency.

Engagement Range: 1" horizontally + 5" vertically. You can't simply move models to engage an enemy, you must e.g. charge.

Engaged: unit is within the Engagement Range of a unit from opposing army.

Starting Strength: The number of models in the unit when it was added to army.

Below Half-strength: The number of models is less than half its Starting Strength.

If several rules must be resolved at the same time, the player whose turn it is chooses the order to resolve them. If it's not anyone's turn, do a roll-off.

Owner is always affected by the aura.

Identically named aura abilities are not cumulative.


# D means "dice" or "die"
D6   = roll a 6 sided die
2D6  = roll two 6 sided dice
D6+1 = roll a D6 and add 1 to the result
D3   = roll a 6 sided die and half the result, rounding up
D33  = roll 2D3, the first is tens and the second is units

# + means "or more"
3+   = 3 or more
6+   = 6 or more
11+  = 11 or more

# - means "or less"
9-   = 9 or less
4-   = 3 or less
2-   = 2 or less

# ++ means "5+ invulnerable save"
5++  = 5 or more (no armor penetration applied)

Roll Result: Result of roll after (re-)rolls and after any modifiers.

Unmodified Dice: Result of roll after (re-)rolls, but before any modifiers.

Re-roll: Roll the dice again, a die can never be re-rolled more than once.

Re-roll a Dice Roll: Roll all of the included dice again e.g. 2D6.

Roll-off: Both players roll a D6 – highest wins, re-roll ties.

Dice roll cannot be modified to become less than 1 but in many cases 1 is already an automatic failure.



In each round, both players have a turn.

Each turn consists of 7 phases:

  1. Command: both players use tactical abilities.
  2. Movement: units may move across the battlefield.
  3. Psychic: psykers may use mental abilities.
  4. Shooting: units may shoot enemies with ranged weapons.
  5. Charge: units may charge into close combat.
  6. Fight: both players' units pile in and attack with melee weapons.
  7. Morale: both players test if any of their models flee.

Some of the phases can have separate steps.

1. Command Phase

Battle-forged CP bonus: Gain 1 CP if army is Battle-forged.

Resolve any rules that occur in the Command phase.

2. Movement Phase

2.1 Move Step

  1. Select a unit in your army that hasn't acted in this phase.
  2. When a unit acts it can either: Normal Move, Advance or Remain Stationary.
  3. Engaged units can only: Fall Back or Remain Stationary.
  4. Repeat until all units have acted this phase.

Move actions:

  • Normal Move: Models move up to M"
  • Advance: Models move up to M+D6", but cannot charge or shoot this turn
  • Fall Back: Models move up to M", but cannot charge this turn, and cannot shoot or manifest psychic powers this turn unless they are TITANIC
  • Remain Stationary: Models will not move this phase

You cannot enter within enemy Engagement Range while moving, but you can pass through any Engagement Ranges when Falling Back.

Models can move freely over terrain features 1" or less in height.

Models cannot move through taller terrain features, but can climb up and down them.

FLY models ignore the following when they make a Normal Move, an Advance or a Fall Back:

  • all other models
  • enemy Engagement Ranges
  • terrain vertical distances
  • but cannot end their movement engaged or on top of another model

Once all your units have acted, progress to the Reinforcements step.

2.2 Reinforcements Step

If you have any units in Reinforcements, you can bring them in one at a time.

Reinforcement units cannot do any move step actions on the turn they arrive for any reason: Normal Move, Advance, Fall Back or Remain Stationary. But get to act on other phases.

Reinforcement units count as having moved this turn for the distance of M".

Reinforcements placement distance from enemies is always horizontal distance; not the usual model-to-model distance.

If units disembark from a TRANSPORT on the turn it was reinforced on the battlefield, the disembarking units are also considered to being brought as reinforced for the turn.

3. Psychic Phase

  1. Select a PSYKER in your army to manifest its psychic powers or pass for that unit.
  2. Repeat until all of your PSYKERs have acted in this phase.

A PSYKER cannot act in psychic phase if they Fell Back this turn unless they are TITANIC.

All PSYKERS know Smite psychic power. The rest of the available powers depends on the unit and the army in question.

You cannot select the same psychic power more than once per battle round, unless that power is Smite.


  • Each PSYKER can attempt to manifest Smite only once per round.
  • Smite has a warp charge value of 5 and add 1 warp charge to the further attempts for each other attempt from your army made in the same phase, successful or not.
  • If manifested, closest visible enemy unit within 18" suffers D3 mortal wounds.
  • If manifested with a test result of 11+, enemy suffers D6 mortal wounds instead.

You attempt to manifest the psychic power by taking a psychic test.

Psychic Test: Passed if 2D6 equals or exceeds warp charge value.

# Unmodified Psychic Test Success Changes:
Warp Charge 9: 27%
Warp Charge 8: 41%
Warp Charge 7: 58%
Warp Charge 6: 72%
Warp Charge 5: 83%
Warp Charge 4: 91%

If double 1 or double 6 are rolled, PSYKER suffers Perils of the Warp.

Perils of the Warp: the PSYKER unit suffers D3 mortal wounds. If the unit is destroyed, the psychic power fails and every unit within 6" of it immediately suffers D3 mortal wounds.

The opponent can attempt Deny the Witch test using a PSYKER within 24".

Deny the Witch: Passed if 2D6 exceeds result of the opposing PSYKER's psychic test. Only one attempt can be made to deny each psychic power. Datasheet lists how many times each unit can try to deny per opponent psychic phase.

4. Shooting Phase

A unit can have multiple models which can have multiple different weapons. You can target different enemy units with different weapons.

  1. Select a unit from your army to shoot with that has not shot this phase.
  2. Declare targets for each model and weapon combo before any attacks are resolved.
  3. Select one of the previously declared targets.
  4. Select one of the weapons and resolve attacks of the models with that profile.
  5. Repeat 4 until all weapons targeting that unit have been used.
  6. Repeat 3-5 until all declared targets have been shot at with all targeting weapons.
  7. Repeat until all friendly units with ranged weapons have acted.

Targetable: At least one model in the target unit is visible to the attacking model and within range of the weapon.

Visibility: Look from behind the firing model to see if a part of the target is visible.

Shooting Range: The model-to-unit measured distance is weapon Range or less.

Special cases when you can not normally shoot:

  • If the firing unit has Advanced or Fell Back this turn.
  • If the firing unit is engaged.
  • If the target unit is engaged with a friendly unit.

Big Guns Never Tire: VEHICLE/MONSTERs can shoot units engaging them, even if there are other friendly units engaged. Heavy weapons get -1 to hit rolls in this situation.

All of a ranged weapon's attacks must be made against the same target unit.

# Number of attacks = number after weapon's type.
Assault 1 = 1 attack
Heavy 3   = 3 attacks

Look Out, Sir: Models cannot target any units with a 9-W CHARACTER if:

  • the unit is within 3" of a friendly CHARACTER unit with a 10+W VEHICLE/MONSTER
  • the unit is within 3" of a friendly non-CHARACTER unit with a VEHICLE/MONSTER
  • the unit is within 3" of a friendly non-CHARACTER unit with 3+ models.
  • This rule doesn't apply if the 9-W CHARACTER is the closest enemy unit to the firing model. You can also choose to ignore other 9-W CHARACTERs for this proximity check.

Ranged Weapon Types:

  • Assault: can shoot even if the unit Advanced, but with -1 to hit rolls
  • Heavy: if the firing model is INFANTRY, -1 to hit rolls if has moved this turn
  • Rapid Fire: double the amount of attacks if target is within half range
  • Pistol: can shoot even if engaged; but you can't shoot with non-Pistol weapons.
  • Grenade: only one model can use a Grenade when the unit shoots

Blast Weapons: Minimum three attacks against units with 6+ models. Always make maximum number of attacks against units with 11+ models. Blast weapons can never be used against enemies you are engaged with.

Resolving Attacks

Hit roll (ranged weapon): Roll D6; hit scored if result equals or beats attacking model's BS. Otherwise attack fails.

Hit roll (melee weapon): Roll D6; hit scored if result equals or beats attacking model's WS. Otherwise attack fails.

Wound roll: Roll one D6 and compare attack's S with target's T on table to the left. Target wounded if score equals or beats the required result. Otherwise attack fails.

Wound Roll
                D6 To Wound     Example     Probability
S   >= 2xT      2+              8S vs 4T    83.33%
S   >  T        3+              6S vs 4T    66.67%
S   =  T        4+              4S vs 4T    50.00%
S   <  T        5+              3S vs 4T    33.33%
2xS <= T        6+              2S vs 4T    16.67%

Allocate attack: Player commanding target unit selects one model in that unit. If a model in the unit has already lost wounds, or has already had attacks allocated to it this phase, they must select that model.

Saving throw: Roll one D6 and modify by the attack's AP. If result less than the Sv of the selected model, the saving throw is failed and it suffers damage. Otherwise attack is saved.

Invulnerable save: Saving throw that is never modified by attacking weapon's AP. A model with an invulnerable save can use it instead of its normal Sv. Only one invulnerable save per attack can be used.

Inflict damage: The selected model loses a number of wounds equal to the attack's D.

If a model is destroyed by an attack, any excess damage inflicted by that attack is lost.

Unmodified hit rolls, wound rolls and saving throws of 1 always fail.

Unmodified hit rolls and wound rolls of 6 always succeed.

Hit and wound rolls cannot be modified by more than -1 or +1.

Mortal Wound: Do not make a wound roll or an (invulnerable) saving throw. excess damage from mortal wounds is not lost, apply them one wound at a time to the target unit. If ability modifies weapon damage, it doesn't apply to any mortal wounds inflicted.

Ignore Wound: A model can only use one rule to attempt to ignore each wound suffered.

5. Charge Phase

5.1. Charge Step

You can now charge with your non-engaged units.

  1. Select a unit from your army to charge with that hasn't charged this phase.
  2. Declare any number of enemy units within 12" as targets, visibility not required.
  3. Roll 2D6 and move if you can engage all the targets while keeping unit coherency.
  4. Repeat until all of your units have charged.

You can't engage enemies that you didn't declare as charge targets

You can't charge if all enemies were further than 12" away at the start of the phase.

Models can make a move freely over terrain features 1" or less in height. Models cannot move through taller terrain features, but can climb up and down them.

FLY models can move over other models when they make a charge move. FLY models move over terrain (including BUILDINGS) like any other model when they make a charge move.

Overwatch: Before charge roll made, all charge targets that can fire Overwatch can do so.

Only to the charging unit.

the closest target proximity checks don't apply while firing Overwatch

Can never fire Overwatch while enemy units are in Engagement Range.

When firing Overwatch, shoot with unit, but attacks only hit on unmodified 6s.

5.2. Heroic Intervention Step

Your opponent can now do Heroic Interventions.

  1. Select a CHARACTER unit to perform a Heroic Intervention.
  2. Enemy target must be within 3" horizontal and 5" vertical.
  3. Move up to 3" and must end closer to the closest enemy model and in unit coherency.
  4. Repeat until all wanted and eligible CHARACTERs have intervened.

CHARACTERs can't intervene while engaged.

6. Fight Phase

All engaged units will now fight in close combat.

  1. All units that made a charge move this turn will fight before any non-charge units.
  2. Starting with your opponent, alternate selecting units to fight with.
  3. When a unit fights:
    • Pile in: Move up to 3" and must end closer to the closest enemy model.
    • Resolve Close Combat Attacks: see below.
    • Consolidate: Move up to 3" and must end closer to the closest enemy model.
  4. Repeat until all units have fought, player passes if he has no eligible units.

Number of attacks made by each model that can fight = A.

Models in an unit that charged this turn can only attack enemy unit it charged against or that performed Heroic Intervention this turn.

Select targets for all attacks, before any attacks are resolved.

If a unit targets multiple units, all attacks against one unit must be resolved before resolving attacks against the next.

A model can only attack if:

  • it's engaged with the enemy unit.
  • is within ½" of another model from their own unit that is within ½" of the enemy unit.

Each close combat attack is made with a melee weapon.

Each attack can use different weapon. But attack with all weapons with the same profile at the same time.

If a unit attacks with multiple weapons, all attacks made with weapons that have the same profile must be resolved before resolving attacks with the next.

Note that all the attacks you have declared are always resolved against the target unit even if, when you come to resolve an individual attack, no models in the target unit remain in range.

7. Morale Phase

  1. Starting for the active player, players alternate taking Morale tests for units from their army that have suffered casualties this turn.

Morale test = D6 + number of models destroyed this turn. Unmodified roll of 1 always a success (no models flee). If Morale test exceeds unit’s Ld, one model flees and other models must take Combat Attrition tests.

Combat Attrition tests: Roll one D6 for each remaining model in unit; for each 1, one additional model flees. Subtract 1 from Combat Attrition tests if unit is below Half-strength.

  1. Repeat
  2. Unit coherency check

Remove models from units in your army that are not in unit coherency.